When it comes to the ‘Perfect Pass,’ there are two things that are required. You need to make the pass at the right time and to the right location. Timing and location can further be analyzed and the mechanics of the ‘Perfect Pass’ will become more clear.
Timing is everything in hockey. When preparing to make a pass, you have to understand the fluid nature of the ten people on the ice. Not one person is standing in a set location at a set time. This makes timing very important. A split second too soon or too late could result in a turnover.
The first step to timing a pass properly is to have your head up. Not only are you surveying the ice for potential passing targets, but you are also surveying the ice for potential threats. You cannot be successful at any facets of hockey while keeping your head down and eyes on the puck.
The second step to timing a pass is to acknowledge the target. The target may not always be in front of the player, depending on the play developing, what their intentions are when they receive the pass and other variables. Be cognizant of this.
Once you identify the future target location you will need to gauge the receiving players speed and direction. This will be the final step in the timing aspect of the pass. Their speed and direction will allow you to process the location of the target at the given time you intend to make the pass.
Now that you understand the future location of the target, how will you get the puck to that location? Will a hard, crisp, pass be more effective than a pass to general area where the player can skate into the puck? Will a saucer pass be required? Do you have to change the angle of the puck in your possession in order to ensure the passing lane remains open?
These questions are all situational based and no singular answer is neither right nor wrong. The location aspect of the ‘Perfect Pass’ comes with a degree of experience in different situations. To get more confident with this, specific passing drills should be performed and practiced that test your situational awareness.
These drills should incorporate short, medium and cross-ice passes. These drills should also have the player passing and receiving the puck moving at variable speeds. Initially, there is no need to add additional distractions, however, as the player matures, then obstacles, distractions, and obstructions can be incorporated. Testing the player in this way will build the ultimate passing confidence.
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